15 YEARS LATER: SO MUCH HAS CHANGED

I didn’t plan on writing about 9/11.  I really never thought I would.  But here I sit, on the 15th anniversary of that awful day and I can’t help but reflect:

We’ve lost our innocence.

I remember being at work when it happened, hearing, “A plane hit the World Trade Center!” and thinking, “Oh no, it must have been a new pilot in a Cessna or something…” It was a time when my mind just couldn’t go to a place where commercial airplanes filled with passengers could be intentionally flown into buildings.

Innocence lost.

I remember sitting in a bar with my brother a couple of weeks later, pondering “What’s so wrong about being American?  What’s wrong with hanging out and having a beer?  Why do they hate us?”  It didn’t take long to learn why; all we had to do was start paying attention.  Recently, I read something (sorry, I can’t remember where), a conversation that was had between a Westerner and someone from the Middle East.  The person from the Middle East commented about how we Westerners love hero sagas so well, like Star Wars.  The Rebels against the evil Empire; we see ourselves as the Rebels.  But elsewhere in the world they see us as the Empire.  That startled me at first, but if you look at it from their perspective, it does kind of make sense.

Innocence lost.

I remember going to the doctor four days after 9/11, and having the highest blood pressure reading I’d ever had.  I commented about it, and the nurse said everyone who’d been in that week had high readings.  When I compare my reaction to 9/11 to the Boston Marathon bombing that happened just a couple of miles from where I live, an event that impacted me in a much more personal way…I am shocked to find that I was more upset by 9/11.  I remember telling myself as I watched the bombing coverage, “OK, that’s enough, there’s nothing new, it’s just a loop.  If you keep watching you’ll make yourself crazy.  Remember how it was after 9/11.  Be informed, but not inundated.”  It’s not that I wasn’t overcome with anger, disgust and sadness, but I realized I needed to manage my reaction.

Innocence lost.

I’ve learned how to Keep Calm and Carry On.

How incredibly sad.

I never wanted to be that tough, not about human lives.  I guess it’s a matter of self-preservation.  We have to look at the world differently now.

I’m nostalgic by nature.  It’s difficult to not wistfully think of the time “before” when life was simple.  Or to constantly wonder, “What’s going on, why are these things happening?”

As they say, life goes on.

Being forced into a new world view probably helped me dig myself out of a rut.  In the years since, I found the courage to go back to school, and ultimately to relocate half way across the country.  Those things didn’t happen because of 9/11, but looking back across the years I see the gradual shift in my thinking from “I have time,” to “now or never.”

How has your life changed?

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2 thoughts on “15 YEARS LATER: SO MUCH HAS CHANGED

  1. Made me realize that the British were once the ‘Evil Empire’ too, but for us as a country to put together a democracy, that albeit is not perfect, but where pretty much everyone flocks to for opportunity, so for us to be considered anything of an evil empire is beyond idiotic.

    I served this great country in times of war and and realize it was a hard time. But I sure as hell will stand for it while being able to stand under it. And for those who feel they should not have to stand or feel we are an evil empire, there are numerous countries that will never afford them the opportunity they have here in the USA and should go there.

    My 2 cents. Nice blog

    Like

    1. Regarding the evil empire analogy, if you are a person living your life in your own culture (and local propaganda) with no experience of what the US has to offer, you would see an occupying force as invading, and evil. Right or wrong, it’s just human nature.

      The American Colonists were British citizens at the time of the Revolution, citizens who were not being treated fairly by their own government, and wanted to break free. I imagine the Native American’s perception of the British is the closer analogy of the time.

      I live my life trying to understand how other people view the world, and how my actions impact others. I certainly don’t agree with everyone, not by a long shot. I wrote this piece as a reflection of how world events of the past 15 years affected me personally. I’m thoroughly American, and proud of our achievements as a nation, but the reality of life is no one is perfect. We’re all doing the best we can…well maybe not all of us, but I like to think most of us are! 🙂

      I truly appreciate the sacrifices those who serve our nation make; the cost is great, and it takes strong individuals to do the job and to persevere.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      Like

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